Daily Dodger in Review: The two seasons of Jerry Hairston Jr.

JERRY HAIRSTON JR., 36, utility

Final 2012 stats: .273 batting average, four home runs, 26 RBI, 19 runs, .342 on-base and .387 slugging percentages in 238 at-bats.

Contract status: Signed for 2013 at $3.75 million, the last of his two-year contract.

The good: Hairston was sort of the new Jamey Carroll, the utility man extraordinaire. He split time between second and third, but also played 15 games in left field. Got off to a terrific start, was hitting .366 with .435 on-base and .525 slugging percentages through June 9.

The bad: After June 9, however, his season took a drastic turn. He hit just .204/.272/.285 in his last 44 games before shutting his season down Aug. 11 with a hip injury. The hip had been bothering him for a while, so that likely explains his downward turn. He had taken over the third base job from Juan “He’s Still Here?” Uribe before his season ended. The hip eventually required surgery.

What’s next: Healing, and most likely, a lot more time as an outfielder. The emergence of Luis Cruz and the midseason addition of Hanley Ramirez crowd the infield. GM Ned Colletti has already said Hairston, expected to fully recover from his surgery, could be moved into the team’s fourth outfielder spot.

The take: The memory of Hairston’s season seems greater than his actual final numbers, dragged down by his personal second half. Still, if he’s healthy, he should approximate more the early Hairston next season. He doesn’t figure to be used as much on a regular basis, but then he wasn’t supposed to see that much time last year, either.

He’s one of those truly valuable pieces who can play almost any infield and outfield position and play them pretty well. He was also absolutely tremendous in the clubhouse, and a big part of why the Dodgers seemed to overachieve early in the season.


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